Friday, October 16, 2020

The Duchess High Low Skirt

In my last post I shared the making of the Truly Victorian 1870 Blouse Waist, pattern TV401.  It has the most glorious sleeves!

The hi-low fall of the sleeve hem reminded me of the hi-low hems of more recent fashion skirts.  I imagined these two pieces in a Historybounding pairing and went in search of a skirt pattern.

The perfect pattern is available through the Do It Better Yourself Club website as, FREE, pattern!

The pattern is available in a downloadable format with layering to print your size.   All instructions for printing are there for you to follow.  I happily downloaded the free pattern and decided to print it without choosing a layer/size or length or front cutout option.  That wasn't the best idea as I had forgotten I was low on ink.  But all was not lost!  I simply chose my size on my crazily printed pages and followed that line legend on my computer and then highlighted it on the pattern.

So please don't think that the following photos represent the actual pattern.  The pattern is wonderful!  My attention to available ink is not!  And here is my chosen size and options pattern which covers a large part of my queen-size bed!

I chose the long length since I'll be wearing this for a wedding but also chose the saucy high front to show off my really adorable American Duchess Colette Button Boots.  These boots are appropriate for historical impressions from 1890 -1920 but I've worn them for multiple eras and modern wear.  I can wear them for hours walking and dancing without a care.  They are my favorite boots!

When I purchased the fabric for the 1870s Carriage Gown project I knew what I needed for the skirt and bodice.  I expected that some day I would want to create a dinner or even ballgown bodice for the skirt.  I needed extra fabric for the belt and reticule and all the trims for the skirt.  I placed my fabric order with all those options in mind.  And, luckily, after cutting out my patterns and finalizing the trim options, I was going to have enough fabric for the Duchess skirt!

Since this pattern is cut with the front on the fold, the fabric has to be folded with the selvedges at the top and bottom.  For me that meant cutting everything on the floor as it was the only place where I had enough space for this huge pattern piece.

With the interior of the skirt visible when worn because of the shorter front, I cut two of the fabric for both the outside and inside of the skirt and one piece of an unbleached muslin for opacity and structure.  So I had to crawl around on the floor three times before all pieces were ready.  And I had to banish the pup to the bedroom because she thinks this is playtime if I'm on the floor!

The waist of the pattern on the above photo is in the upper right corner.  It is on the bias and the instructions make sure you know to handle the fabric delicately right after cutting and go immediately to your sewing machine and staystitch the waist to prevent that curve from distorting.

I pinned the three layers together.  Now I'm on the bedroom floor and the pup is in the kitchen.  :)  And everything is pressed immediately before pinning to eliminate all wrinkles caused by cutting and handling.

To allow the fabric to naturally fall before sewing, I let the pinned layers hang on the dressform for several days readjusting the pins at the hemline.

Time to sew!  New Project New Needle.

I flatlined the muslin middle layer to the front piece by sewing at the waist and the back edges.  I left the hemline free and trimmed some of the fabric where it had stretched beyond the muslin inner layer.  Then I sewed a French seam along the entire lower edge and understitched the seam to the inside layer.

The next step is to sew in a zipper and close the back seam.  I didn't have a zipper but I had 5 matching vintage buttons so I made a placket and sewed it to the left edge.

Then I pinned the back seam closed in the outer layer and inner layer separately and sewed the back of the skirt closed.   With all seams pressed and the layers turned to their correct positions, the waist layers can be basted closed and a waistband attached.  I measured both the fabric and the muslin and attached them both together to the outside edge of the skirt.

The waistband is folded in half, the raw edge turned under 1/2", and then hand stitched to the inner edge of the skirt turning the ends inside 1/2".  Then the inner fabric is handstitched to the skirt opening edge.

Buttonholes on the skirt back opening and waistband and then buttons on the placket and waistband.

A last good pressing and the Duchess Skirt is finished!

With the 1870 Blouse Waist:

A piece of fabric neatly edged with the scalloped pinking shears and some saved ribbon pieces becomes a pretty wrapping for a gift.

With the American Duchess Colette Button Boots and ivory silk stockings available from American Duchess, and jewelry by LadyDetalle on Etsy, I'm ready to attend the virtual wedding.

The skirt hem reflects the sleeve hem beautifully!  And the skirt has such great movement!  I can see that I will make this skirt again in the shorter option with a longer front and following the directions for a knit.  Such versatility!

This is the end of the skirt portion of this post but if you care to stay I'm going to create some special decorated cookies for the virtual wedding celebration.  The inspiration is from SweetAmbs on YouTube and Facebook.  Although I haven't made these cookies before, she always makes it look easy, and I'm willing to try.

Making the cookies.

Baked cookies.

Ingredients and tools for icing.

Tea goes perfectly with cookie decorating!

The first step of icing and marbling with edible gold luster dust.

After drying overnight, the cookies are ready for the trim.

Details added with light brown icing.

Details painted with edible gold luster dust.


I'm sure that some day I will look back at these cookies and cringe.  I hope so.  I hope that I get better with my cookie decorating but, like my sewing, I can only improve by doing it.  So here they are and we are ready for the virtual wedding!

Ah, love!  It makes the world go 'round and it is all we need as the songs say!


YouTube Video for The Duchess Skirt on my channel, aperfecttouch:

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